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Doctor Strange 2 reshoots are so extensive, it’s like a new movie

Published Nov 14th, 2021 12:06PM EST
Doctor Strange scene from Spider-Man: No Way Home
Image: Sony

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We’ve explained why Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be one of the most exciting MCU Phase 4 films. That’s because “multiverse” in the sequel’s title represents a big MCU Phase 4 theme. The Avengers are only starting to understand what the multiverse is. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is one of the best-equipped heroes to deal with it. The film’s cast includes other exciting Avengers characters to help Strange along the way. But the film’s release date was pushed back to May 2022. Rumors said that reshoots were in order. Fast forward to mid-November, and a new report says Doctor Strange 2 reshoots are incredibly ambitious. One person likened it to shooting an entirely new movie.

We’ll explain why that’s both a good and bad thing. But before we get into it, you should know that some Multiverse of Madness spoilers might follow below.

The Doctor Strange 2 release date delay

We saw the multiverse unleashed in Loki and What If…?. And Spider-Man: No Way Home will deliver more multiverse developments, with Strange being involved in the story. But the MCU’s Doctor Strange is yet to understand what the multiverse is about. He knows it poses a danger to this reality, as we saw in the No Way Home trailers. He’ll discover precisely what the multiverse has to offer in the Doctor Strange 2 sequel.

When Marvel pushed the release date back to May, it delayed a slew of other MCU releases. Kevin Feige downplayed the whole thing about a month ago, saying that production shifts and changes are forcing the schedule to be reshuffled. He made no mention of reshoots for Doctor Strange 2 at the time.

Soon after that, a well-known Marvel insider said that both No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness tested poorly in early screenings. There was no time to fix the new Spider-Man plot issues, but Marvel had time to correct the course of Doctor Strange 2. The ensuing reshoots are rumored to be the reason why Marvel had to delay the Doctor Strange 2 release date. Cumberbatch later confirmed the reshoots.

It wasn’t all bad news, as the insider said that Marvel wants to add a lot more MCU cameos in Doctor Strange 2. In the process, Marvel would also fix the problems with the story.

Doctor Strange holding a coffee cup
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) holding a coffee cup that reads “For Fox Sake” in No Way Home trailer. Image source: Sony and Marvel

Multiverse of Madness reshoot is more extensive than we thought

Special effects are another reason for the MCU movie release date delays, the same leaker said. And if Doctor Strange 2 needed reshoots, then the VFX work had to wait until Marvel finished shooting the extra scenes.

It turns out the reshoot is more extensive than we thought. The Hollywood Reporter learned the movie needs “significant” reshoots. The cast and crew have to be on set until Christmas, shooting six days a week through the end of the year.

One source said of the Doctor Strange 2 reshoots that it’s “like a whole other movie.” Others downplayed the severity. “Even while in the middle of production, Marvel is scheduling you for more shooting,” a person said. Another added that Marvel had “bigger reshoots on other MCU movies.”

People said to be familiar with the matter explained that the production needs to catch up with principal photography that was held over from the initial shoot in the UK in early 2021. The pandemic also slowed down work on the movie. But the sources downplayed concerns about the story.

Cumberbatch again confirmed the reshoots to Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week, without providing any specifics about the plot or cast. “Like everything with Marvel, it comes in fresh, pretty much, most mornings,” the actor said. “It’s really exciting and the film is shaping up to be something special.”

This is when I’ll remind you of the big Doctor Strange 2 spoilers that might help you understand the reshoots. Beware, big spoilers follow below.

A Doctor Strange variant from What If...?
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Marvel’s What If…?. Image source: Marvel Studios

The big Doctor Strange 2 plot spoilers

If you’ve been following Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness closely, you know everything about it has leaked. We know who the real villain is, what happens in the multiverse, who lives and dies, and what happens in the post-credits scenes. Or, we think we know. That’s because an insider recently offered a rundown of events, with a bigger leak filling in the blanks.

Spoilers aren’t always that accurate. We’ve always told you that. But Marvel delayed the Doctor Strange 2 release date around the time of the leaks. And that’s when Doctor Strange 2 reshoot rumors first surfaced. That’s not to say that Marvel is reshooting the movie because the plot leaked. But it might make significant fixes to the story because it tested poorly in early screenings.

The villain and cameo problems

If those leaks are accurate, then Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) will be the movie’s main villain. And while she might see the mistakes of her ways by the end of Doctor Strange 2, the leaks say she’ll be incredibly dangerous throughout the movie. She’ll stop at nothing to find her children from a different universe, and she’ll go on killing sprees. She’ll even kill Avengers and X-Men in the process, according to leaks.

Wanda in Scarlet Witch moe
Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) in WandaVision finale’s post-credits scene. Image source: Marvel Studios

The whole thing sounds fantastic considering where we left Wanda. After all the suffering in her life, she’s still damaged. And she’s getting incredibly powerful at the same time. WandaVision gave us another stage in Wanda’s ascent to villainy, introducing the Scarlet Witch. But we’ve already seen glimpses of how bad Wanda can be, starting with Age of Ultron, Civil War, and especially Endgame.

That’s not to say that we’d love Wanda any less should she turn out to be a massive MCU villain. But maybe test audiences didn’t like how dark Doctor Strange 2 turned out to be. Reshoots might need to fix all of that and tone down Wanda’s dark side.

Then there’s also the cameo angle. We’ve been expecting Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to offer all sorts of crazy cameos. This is Marvel’s big chance since everything is in play thanks to the multiverse. Think What If…? characters, but condensed into a single movie. If the rumor above is accurate, the reshoots will “fix” this part of the story. And that’s terrific news. But unfortunately, we have no information on new cast additions to Doctor Strange 2 from the recent leaks.

Whatever the case, we’ll be waiting for new Doctor Strange 2 leaks to detail the updated plot. Considering the movie’s new release date is May 6th, we have plenty of time for that.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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